It’s the most exciting day of the year for many Michigan residents – opening day of deer season! On November 15, tens of thousands of hunters will take to the woods in pursuit of that ‘monster buck.’ While hunting is a fun and enjoyable sport for men and women alike across the country, safety should be your number one priority. Every year, about 1,000 people are injured in hunting accidents in the U.S. and Canada, according o the International Hunter Education Association. Of those 1,000, nearly 100 individuals die from their injuries.
At Grabel & Associates, we want you to be safe in 2014. Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind while you enjoy the sights and sounds of nature:Every firearm should be treated as if it is loaded, regardless of whether it is or not. Many accidents occur because those handling a firearm “thought” it was unloaded.
– Make certain the muzzle of your firearm is pointing in a safe direction, such as down at the ground.
– As you’re making your way to your deer stand or other hunting spot, leave your firearm unloaded. Only load it once you have reached your destination.
– When you see a deer, look closely to make certain of what may be beyond it. Be 100% certain it IS a deer before you take a shot.
– Alcohol or mood-altering drugs are an accident waiting to happen when combined with firearms. Never go into the woods or handle a gun if you have been drinking or taking drugs.
– Until you are ready to take a shot, keep your finger outside the trigger. About a third of injuries sustained by hunters during deer season are accidental and self-inflicted.
– Always wear hunter orange so that you are highly visible in the woods. This goes for non-hunters as well, and any dogs you may be taking on your hunting trip.
– Take along a first aid kit, rain gear, and an extra set of dry clothing just in case.
– Scope out the area you want to hunt prior to opening day. It is vital to be familiar with the area.
– Tell a family member or friend where you will be hunting, and when you expect to return. This is important should anything unexpected happen, so that loved ones know where to come looking for you.
– Make sure other hunters know you are in the vicinity. Whistle, raise your voice, cough – just make noise. Once you are certain other hunters know of your presence, be courteous and quiet.
– Make certain your firearm is in good working order before the hunt. After hunting, unload your firearm and store it and your ammunition separately.
– Whether climbing over a log, navigating a fence, or climbing up to your deer stand, do not attempt any of these things with a loaded firearm.
Keep all of the above hunting safety tips in mind, and have a great 2014 deer hunting season.